For a magnifique start to your day: Café Bernard
According to the locals, this rustic French gem is where “cowboys eat croissants.” Try delicacies like the Parisienne french toast and smoked trout hash—or snatch up one of the pastries made fresh daily (just don’t dawdle; these babies go fast). 200 Midland Ave. (970) 927-4292
For a brisk angler’s afternoon: Taylor Creek Fly Shop
Escape the busy ski runs by spending a quiet winter afternoon on a stretch of famous gold-medal water with one of the Taylor Creek guides (some of these fellas have been casting flies for 20-plus years). The fish are biting—and bigger—during the winter, the fly-shop veterans say, and with water flow and levels down, you’ll likely be able to spot more beauties, too. 183 Basalt Center Cir. taylorcreek.com
For a study in sophisticated Western art: Ann Korologos Gallery
While the works of art that grace the walls at this erudite gallery share a common Western thread, they’re far from trite: abstract paintings share quarters with impressionist scenes and sculpture. The art is practically as varied as the background of the curator herself, who has formerly held posts as U.S. Secretary of Labor and chair of the Aspen Institute. 211 Midland Ave. korologosgallery.com
For the happiest hour of all: Cuvée World Bistro
Husband-and-wife owners Mitch and Krystal Levy have a simple, noble philosophy: master the art of pairing food with wine, make locals and visitors feel welcome, and keep the prices approachable. Case in point: pair any appetizer on the happy hour menu with a $10-or-less glass of vino—choose from more than 70 wines by the glass—and get out the door for $10 (plus tax and tip). 305 Gold Rivers Ct. cuveebistro.com
For upscale Spanish-Italian fare and a posh scene: Tempranillo
For real-deal tapas and paella crafted by Madrid native Javier Gonzalez-Bringas (whose wife, Laura, helps run the restaurant), be sure to get on the books for one of Tempranillo’s 100 coveted seats, 19 of which surround a long community table. Find perfect sips on the 100-vintage-long wine list, or go sweet with the house sangria, chock-full of fruit. 165 Midland Ave. tempranillorestaurant.com
FOR A FULL DAY
STAY Turn a day trip into an overnight at the Lodge at River’s Edge, and sink into a down-filled mattress draped in 1,000-thread-count Egyptian cotton in one of four charming, waterside guest rooms—or check into the private restored cabin built in 1896 by Colorado Midland Railroad workers.
SHOP Find modern home furnishings by Knoll, Gus Modern and Blu Dot at Montecito Loft & Home, and any kitchen gadget a chef could dream of at Kitchen Collage, plus more hip retailers—all at the mixed-use Willits Town Center, just a skip from downtown Basalt.
DO Spending a Saturday? Browse the indoor Willits Winter Market—November 27 through February 26 from 10 am to 3 pm—for artisan food, seasonal goods and items to make your home happy.